The unexpected journey of Folioscope
This week, we're revisiting the fascinating story of Folioscope, which has just reached a major milestone: over one million animations are now hosted on our servers! Born in 2010 to feed our passion for animation, this journey has turned out to be a key element in the development of our biggest game to date, Boom.

It all began in 2010, long before the birth of 1Button. One of our earliest apps, named Dink, was developed in our free time. It allowed users to create and share animations on an internal social platform. During the era of the iPhone 4 and the first iPad, users were limited to using their fingers on relatively unresponsive touchscreens.

Dink provided a restricted palette of six colors: black, white, blue, red, green, and yellow. Despite this limitation, the community discovered the power of dithering to create a broader range of colors. I still remember the general excitement when someone posted a "secret color" for the first time.

Over time, Dink became obsolete, prompting us to design Folioscope in 2016. We revisited and revamped everything, extending the color palette to 18 and adding numerous new tools and features. Today, Folioscope is a powerful creative tool with advanced capabilities.

The real value of Folioscope lies in its vibrant community. Users can post their animations, receive feedback, and follow one another for mutual aid. The best animations are hand-picked to be featured in a public gallery. Themed contests are regularly organized. A unique culture has even emerged within this community, symbolized by the use of specific emojis next to usernames.

Despite lacking a business model, Folioscope has found surprising success in the educational realm, with massive downloads on the Education App Store.

What's even more remarkable is that we've used Folioscope to draw and animate all the sprites for Boom! Our own app has thus proven to be an incredibly effective tool for a large-scale commercial project. By integrating Folioscope with our internal level editor, we've created a powerful ecosystem for game development. Each sprite is enriched with game-specific metadata, and storing everything on our servers enables efficient collaboration.

Born out of our love for animation, Folioscope has exceeded our expectations. While it's never been a profitable project in its own right, it has given us so much more. Not only has it allowed us to build and maintain a dynamic and friendly community, but it has also become an invaluable tool for our other creative endeavors. Folioscope is more than just a simple animation app; it's a platform that continues to amaze us.
September 10, 2023